14 September 2021

4,000-Year-Old Coffin Discovered in a Golf Course Pond

Our Staff and Students led the team that helped recover the rare Bronze Age find

The Log Coffin in Conservation at YAT (Charlotte Graham)

Archaeology staff and students from the University of Sheffield have assisted in the excavation and analysis of very rare early Bronze Age Burial at Tetney, North Lincolnshire. Discovered in July 2018 but only made public now, the site is of national importance as it contained the remains of an unusually well-preserved log coffin and a small stone axe that had its wooden haft intact.

While working at the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Scremby, Dr Hugh Willmott and his team were contacted by English Heritage when the Bronze Age burial was accidently disturbed by the landowner during groundworks. Given the survival of 4,000 year old wood and other very delicate remains, an excavation to recover the finds and the record the site was needed as soon as possible and members of the Department of Archaeology were onsite at Tetney the following day.

Detail of the hafted axe (Charlotte Graham)
Detail of the Hafted Axe (Charlotte Graham)

Since the excavation was completed, members of the Department have been involved in reporting upon on the excavation and human remains, as well as undertaking archaeobotanical analysis of deposits found within the burial. The coffin and axe are currently undergoing conservation at the York Archaeological Trust, and all the finds will eventually be put on display at The Collection in Lincoln.

Although a chance discovery, the work undertaken at Tetney has been an amazing opportunity for our students to become involved in such a unique find. It has been excellent to take this project forward with our partners at Historic England and the York Archaeological Trust, and the collaboration has helped us record, conserve and understand a nationally important site.

Dr Hugh Willmott

Senior Lecturer in European Historical Archaeology

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